To the Introverted Pastor’s Wife: How to Rock Your Role
I recently learned that I am an extroverted introvert.
Which really explains so much about me.
I consider myself an introvert because I find social interaction kind of exhausting, BUT I’m pretty good at it.
I’ve especially gotten good at being social at church which is important since I’m the pastor’s wife.
It takes a ton of effort from me, and it doesn’t feel natural, but apparently, other people don’t notice.
Because, not to brag, but people are always shocked when I say I’m an introvert.
Now, this hasn’t always been the case.
I was painfully shy when Chip and I first got married.
He is gregarious and fun and outgoing and the life of every party.
I felt like a little rain cloud following around the sunshine.
But little by little, I’ve gotten better at peopling (the art of being around people and not being awkward).
I’m still not an extrovert.
I will never walk into a room and feel comfortable being the center of attention.
However, I can walk into a room and lead a women’s Bible study to 50 women and no one there realizes I’m sweating profusely or had to do an embarrassing 10-minute talk to myself in the bathroom mirror to get pumped up.
But I still don’t enjoy it.
I still cling to my introverted tendencies, but as a woman called to ministry, I refuse to let my natural preference for solitude and invisibility keep me from ministering effectively.
Now don’t get wrong.
There are a lot of things that introverts are really great at that are incredibly useful in ministry.
We introverts are observant and notice things and people that extroverts often overlook. This is a great skill for making sure that people don’t feel left out and noticing how others are feeling.
I’ll often ask my husband, “Did you notice that [insert person’s name] seemed down tonight?”
He rarely noticed, but does follow up on my observation and has had a lot of great ministry opportunities because of it.
Introverts also have a pretty great sense of self.
I spend a lot of my free time reading and listening to podcasts about all sorts of things. I am pretty confident in who I am, and I think this helps me to not feel as hurt by other people’s negative opinions of me. Obviously, I still hate to be criticized, gossiped about, etc., but it doesn’t seem to wreck me like it does some of my extroverted friends.
Another great strength of introverts is that they’re typically good listeners.
This is an amazing skill in ministry.
So often, people just need someone to love them and listen to them.
I can definitely do that.
But despite all of the awesome ways God can use your introversion in ministry, there are parts of being an introvert that can hurt your (and your husband’s) ministry.
By avoiding people, the introverted pastor’s wife is often seen as snobby or stuck up.
People tend to be self-centered, so when the pastor’s wife isn’t gregarious, they’ll assume she doesn’t like them instead of assuming she’s shy.
By not being an eloquent conversationalist, people will assume the pastor’s wife doesn’t want to talk to them.
By not attending extra church stuff because she prefers to be at home, people will assume the pastor’s wife doesn’t value church activities.
And I know that your husband’s ministry is important to you.
I know that you want him to have a fruitful and successful career.
But your introverted actions could be unintentionally hurting his best efforts.
So what can you do?
Here are 4 tips to be a great pastor’s wife as an introvert.
1. Dress Nice
Before you start quoting scripture about outward appearances not mattering, hear me out.
When you are in an outfit that you love, you feel confident.
When you feel confident, you behave confidently.
And even if your favorite outfit only gives you a tiny boost of confidence, that may be all you need.
Plus, a cute outfit is a great conversation starter.
“I love your outfit!! Where did you get it??”
Then you have an opportunity to talk about how much you love ordering clothes off Amazon because you don’t have to leave the house or ThredUP because they have amazing deals and you love being able to thrift shop without leaving the house.
You get to be you, and talk about what you love and reveal a little bit of who you really are.
Cute outfits are awesome.
Make the effort and get up a little earlier on Sunday mornings to make sure you look cute so that you’ll feel more confident.
When I oversleep on Sundays and show up at church with my hair in a (wet) bun and a wrinkly dress, I feel self-conscious.
That feeling shows in my interactions with people.
I’m more withdrawn and I’m berating myself for not getting up and doing better.
It’s a horrible cycle.
But on the Sundays that I get up earlier and dress in an outfit I love, I am more outgoing and feel confident.
If you need some cute Sunday dresses, check out our post The Best Sunday Dresses Under $30. They’re all from Amazon so you don’t have to leave the house to shop, and they all have pockets so you have somewhere to stuff your hands during awkward conversations.
2. Use Your Kids
I don’t want my kids to be as introverted as I am and God has answered my prayer 100 times over.
I have four of the most extroverted kids I’ve ever met.
So I use their extroversion to help me.
For example, our church has a handshaking time during Sunday morning worship.
So I gather my kids and say, “Let’s go hug Mrs. Ethel.”
They lead the way, and I get to walk up behind them and talk for a second and leave because my kids ran off after the hug.
I also get to wave and shake hands on my way to Mrs. Ethel but no one stops me for long because I’m obviously following four kids.
It’s great because I get credit for being friendly, but I haven’t had to go way outside of my comfort zone.
It’s also great because I’m teaching my kids to be friendly, so it’s a parenting win as well.
3. Don’t Hide
It’s not hard to find a place to serve that is hidden.
Whether it’s the nursery or children’s department or the sound and tech department or somewhere else.
Churches have places of service where you don’t have to interact with adults.
And while I am completely in favor of helping where needed, it’s no good if you’re never seen.
If you spend every Sunday in the nursery or sound booth, people will notice and they will not like it.
And sure, you shouldn’t be super worried about everyone else’s preferences, but also you should.
The people in your church are the church.
They are the people your husband (and you) are ministering to. And if they don’t like that you aren’t ever around to talk to, that’s a problem.
Don’t be a problem.
Your job as a pastor’s wife is to be a helpmate to him.
4. Speak First
This is hard.
Like, really hard.
But it’s also really good.
See, if you’re the one to start the conversation, you get to steer the conversation.
So you get to start the conversation by asking how the other person is doing.
They answer and ask how you’re doing.
You’re ready for the question because you’re steering the conversation so you don’t freeze up like a deer in headlights.
You give an answer and then ask them another question.
You’re leading the
And when you’re done, you end it.
“Well Lucy, it’s been great talking to you! I’ll see you next week.”
You look super friendly because you started the conversation and you avoided the awkwardness of being asked a ton of questions because you were the one asking the questions and steering the conversation.
When I’m on the other side and people are asking me questions, I get flustered.
My face turns red.
I start sweating.
And then I say DUMB things.
Person: “How are y’all doing today?”
Me: “We’re great! Really great! Well not too great. Just regular great. I mean not regular. Just good. We’re good. But not good like the opposite of evil. Although we aren’t evil. But my son did start a small fire in the kitchen yesterday. So maybe that is sort of evil? But I don’t think it was on purpose to be evil? I think he was just curious about how matches worked. But I’ve shown him before and told him not to mess with matches so he was disobedient which is bad. So maybe we are evil. Because he wouldn’t act that way if I was a better parent which is why homeschooling is so hard.”
It’s rough y’all.
But if I can start the conversation, it goes so much more smoothly.
So try your hand at starting conversations.
Most people really like to talk about themselves so simple questions like, “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?”
You’ll get tons of bonus points if you can ask something specific about their life like, “How was your vacation?” or “Is everyone in your house well yet?”
These require you to know a bit of current history, but as an observant introvert, that should be pretty easy for you.
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In conclusion, being an introverted pastor’s wife can definitely have some challenges.
But with the right outlook and preparation, you can push past the introversion (for a short time period) and love on the people in your church.
This will be a huge blessing to your husband’s ministry.
And remember, God called you to be your husband’s wife just like he called him to be a pastor. God will equip you with all you need to do a great job reaching people for His kingdom.
Do you struggle to be a good pastor’s wife as an introvert or do you have any tips for us introverted pastor’s wives? Tell us in the comments!
WANT TO REMEMBER THIS LATER? PIN TO THE INTROVERTED PASTOR’S WIFE: HOW TO ROCK YOUR ROLE TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD.